Clearing A Misfeed

How To Clear A Misfeed in Your Gun

Malfunctions can happen with all machines, and so it is with a gun. Learning the techniques to clear a misfeed in your gun and deal with them quickly and safely is very important. There are a number of causes for malfunctions with your gun. They can be caused by the ammunition not performing correctly, the gun itself may have an internal mechanical issue, your gun is very dirty, or they can occur due to human error. This article will focus on the type of malfunction known as MISFEEDS. Your ability to quickly and safely clear a misfeed in your gun, enables you to better protect yourself and to prevent an accidental discharge of your gun.

What Is A Misfeed In Your Gun?

The misfeed is the most common form malfunction with a gun. This happens when the round is not properly chambered and the gun jams. There are three different types of misfeeds that can happen with your gun.

One of the biggest advantages of revolvers is if you have a malfunction, most can be solved by simply pulling the trigger again.

A Semi-Automatic Pistol relies on the action of the slide to eject the spent shell and draw in the next round into the chamber. Sometimes this doesn't go as it should and a round of ammunition does not enter the chamber properly, so you need to know how to quickly clear the misfeed so you can defend yourself.

The task in clearing a misfeed is to remove the jammed round and get a new round into the chamber as quickly as possible. 

These Are The Three different types of misfeeds You May Experience With Your Gun

How To Clear Misfeed Type 1 - FAILURE TO FEED

First is the Failure To Feed, in which a round was not loaded into the chamber (e.g. you didn't rack the slide after you loaded a magazine, or the magazine wasn't seated (inserted fully) enough to load a round). This malfunction is not necessarily visible, but when you have pulled the trigger nothing happens.

Follow these instructions in this order!

Step 1: TAP

Firmly tap the bottom of the magazine with the base of your palm. If the magazine was not firmly in place the slide would have failed to pick up the next round for chambering, so this firm tap properly seats the magazine for proper feeding.

You must tap the magazine into place first, before moving to the next step.

Step 2: ROLL

"Roll" the firearm approx. 90 degrees to the right to "tip" the ejection port.

Step 3: RACK

Rack the slide firmly and completely to the rear. If the previous round of ammunition had been a dud and not an empty chamber, it will be ejected now. Do not ride the slide as it moves forward. Pull it all the way back and let it go under its own tension. As the slide comes forward again, it will pick up a fresh round from the top of the firmly seated magazine.

Step 4: ASSESS

Visually check and assess your target. Verify that you need to shoot.

How To Clear Misfeed Type 2 - STOVEPIPE

A stovepipe occurs when the casing from the round that was just fired is not fully ejected and is caught in the ejection port by the slide.

Step 1: TAP

Firmly tap the bottom of the magazine with the base of your palm

Step 2: ROLL

"Roll" the firearm approx. 90 degrees to the right to "tip" the ejection port.

Step 3: RACK

Rack the slide firmly and completely all the way to the rear. The jammed casing will be fall out as the pressure has been released and the gun is rolled to the side. Do not ride the slide as it moves forward. Pull it all the way back and let it go under its own tension. As the slide comes forward again, it will pick up a fresh round from the top of the firmly seated magazine.

Step 4: ASSESS

Visually check and assess your target. Verify that you need to shoot.

How To Clear Misfeed Type 3 DOUBLE FEED

A double feed happens when two rounds try to enter the chamber of a semi-automatic at the same time. Because there is not enough room for both, the gun locks up with the slide partially to the rear. The slide has limited motion and the magazine will not eject by pressing the magazine release. It cannot be fired again until the problem is cleared away.

Step 1: TAP - ROLL - RACK - as above

Upon performing this action, it will become immediately evident that you have a double feed because the slide will not function normally. Even if you think you know you have a double feed, don't skip this step. It is an important step in diagnosing the type of misfeed you have.

Step 2: UNLOAD

First, press up on the slide release / slide-stop lever and lock the slide to the rear. There is a lot of tension, to be able to remove the magazine in the next step, you must alleviate it. It may appear that the slide is locked back, but it is not. You will need to pull hard on the rear of the slide and press up on the slide stop lever to lock it in place.

Second, press the magazine release and strip the magazine from the mag well. It will not drop free on its own with this malfunction and you may have to pull hard to release it.

Step 3: CLEAR

Rack the slide a full 3 times to clear it of all ammunition.

STEP 4: RELOAD

Insert a new loaded magazine

Step 5: RACK

Rack the slide to chamber a round.

Step 6: ASSESS

Visually check and assess your target. Verify that you need to shoot.

Note: It is important to note that the immediate action to clear all three misfeeds in your gun are initially identical. If all three misfeeds were cleared differently, then under extreme stress, it would take time you don't have to access the misfeed and decide how to clear it.

Failures to fire can also be caused by poor ammunition which does not react as expected when the primer is struck. In some cases, the fault may lie within the mechanics of the firearm. Worn springs or dirty firing pin channels may not allow the firing pin to strike the primer as hard as it must be struck in order to fire the round.

In failures-to-fire caused by worn or broken parts, or by dirty internal parts, simply clearing the previous round out of the way might temporarily allow other rounds to fire, but the firearm must be cleaned or repaired as soon as possible. Tap, Rack, (Assess and) Bang is, in such cases, merely a temporarily fix and not a permanent cure."